Brother abu Hasan, you misunderstand me. Shaykh Bin Bayya nor I condemn the mawlid per se, rather what the shaykh said was: 1. Accept this as a difference of opinion and 2. When celebrating, avoid the unlawful. In support of the second point I provided the comments of shaykh al-Alawi al-Maliki and Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalani – I did not insinuate they disapproved of the mawlid. As for the first point, you appear to dismiss out of hand the legitimate opposition of some ulema. There are two viewpoints: those who in principle accept the mawlid but censure its unlawful activities (the majority of ulema), and those who in principle reject the mawlid although some expressed their empathy with the first view. Ibn Taymiyya was indeed lenient on the mawlid and he said those who participate will be rewarded for their good intentions and sound ijtihad but for him it is a bid‘ah in the technical sense of being repudiated. Likewise Abu Abd Allah ibn al-Hajj describes the virtues of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)’s birth but condemns the mawlid as innovation in his Madkhal (http://feqh.al-islam.com/Display.asp?DocID=31&MaksamID=65&ParagraphID=154&Sharh=0). For al-Shatibi, his view of the mawlid in al-i‘tisam is linked to his definition of bid‘ah as an act used to attain proximity (qurba)/ta‘abbud bihi without precedence. Shaykh Ahmed Sirhindi’s objection lies in the potential the mawlid has in deviating people away from the sunna. These ulema were against the mawlid in principle. The difference, as shaykh bin Bayya said, may stem from the difference in understanding the nature of bid‘ah. The majority of fuqaha divided bid‘ah into the five categories (fard, mustahabb, mubah, makruh and haram) and restricted the hadith (all bid'a is dalala) to the last of them, declaring it “am makhsus” (a general statement with specific implications). However a significant minority instead make the distinction between bid‘ah as legal (shar‘i) and bid‘ah as literal (lughwi). The first view stems from Imam al-Shafi‘i’s well-known statement “Bid‘ah are two: praiseworthy and blameworthy. That which agrees with the Sunna is praiseworthy and that which contradicts it is blameworthy” (al-bid‘atu bid‘atan: fa ma wafaqa l-sunnatu fa huwa mahmuda wa ma khalafaha fa huwa madhmuma). The second view stems from Imam Malik’s comment (which al-Shatibi quotes frequently): “Whoever innovates in this nation anything which its salaf did not do, then he has claimed the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has betrayed the message” (man ahdatha fi l-ummati shay’an lam yakun alayhi salafuha fa qad za‘ama anna rasul Allah khana l-risalah). Following the “Shafi‘i” view are Shafi‘is like Imam Nawawi, Abu Shama, al-Suyuti, al-Subki, al-Haythami, al-Asqalani (and others); Hanafis like Ibn Abidin and al-Ayni (and others); Hanbalis like ibn al-Jawzi and Malikis like al-Zurqani and al-Qarafi. Following the “Maliki” view are Hanafis like al-Shamani and Ahmed al-Sirhindi; Malikis like al-Shatibi and Hanbalis like ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and ibn Taymiyya. [hence for example, sayyiduna Umar’s comment “what a magnificent bid‘ah” is taken to be lughwi (linguistic) by the second category and a good bid‘ah by the first category]. Some believe, like Imam al-Lacknawi, that this is only a semantic difference, and for him the two can easily be reconciled by saying: the five categories fall into the lughwi taxonomy and the “haram” element into the shar‘i category. However, the second view does put more emphasis on finding precedence, while the first view does not so much. Shaykh bin Bayya thinks this may be one primary reason for the dispute, and it should therefore not be made into a major issue. edit: Shehu Uthman don Fodio explains the difference of opinion as follows (see below link to ihya al-sunna, p. 107-8): If it is said: “If there is something which draws its proof from the shari‘a but it was not utilised by the early community (salaf), is it a sunna or an innovation”, I say Ahmad Zarruq said in his ‘umdat al-murid al-sadiq: ‘Malik said “it is an innovation because they did not leave it except for an order for them to do so. They were the most desirous of people for doing good and the most knowledgeable of people concerning the sunna.” This is in accordance with the words of Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, when he said to some people doing the remembrance of Allah in a group (jama‘ah) “By Allah you have come with a dark innovation. Do you think you have superseded the Companions of Muhammad in knowledge?” This was mentioned by ibn al-Hajj in al-madkhal so examine that. ‘Al-Shafi‘i may Allah be pleased with him said “not everything which does not have its foundation from the shari‘a is to be considered an innovation, even if the early community (salaf) did not do it. Their leaving doing the action could have been for an excuse which existed at that time, or they may have left it for something better. Perhaps if that action had reached them, it would have been utilised. This is because these legal judgements were taken from the shari‘a and verified by it.” ‘There is disagreement also concerning that which has not been narrated from the sunna whether it is disapproved or approved, if it is innovation or not. Malik said about that “it is not an innovation?” Al-Shafi‘i said it was approved based upon the following tradition: “What I have passed over then it is an exemption” (ma taraktuhu lakum fa huwa afw). This was mentioned by ibn al-Hajj in the section on the remembrance of Allah. Based upon that, there is disagreement regarding the Qur’anic hizb (which is recited in a circle with one voice), doing dhikr in gathering in a loud voice, and performing the supplication in the same manner...al-Shafi‘i says about that “it is a sunna”; Malik said about that “it is a reprehensible innovation because of the existence of ambiguity (shubhah)”. A mujtahid should not be considered an innovator in the eyes of other mujtahids who have an opposing opinion...’ Here ends what Ahmad Zarruq said.